We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Recently, the term "Man of Kent" was mentioned to me. I supposed I could have responded with a limerick about his nose being terribly bent, and the fact nobody knows where he went. Of course, the limerick was about a young woman from Kent, and the term did specify Man of Kent. This term may not seem much to us here in the U.S. On the other hand, there can be an interesting delineation of culture if, in fact, you are from Kent.
After all, the difference between a Kentish Man (or Maid) and a Man (or Maid) of Kent may (or may not) be significant. It all depends on how you look at it, and whether or not you care much about the term itself. I suppose it's not unlike people being from Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Both are from Pennsylvania, and if that's how you're looking at things, that's fine enough. On the other hand, don't think a denizen of Philly is going to relate easily to one from the Steel City. Even setting aside the rivalries in hockey and baseball (football not being played commonly enough between the cities to be of great importance), Philadelphia has a proud history. It is a birthplace of the Revolution, the Constitution, and was the nation's capital city for a brief period. This is countered by the economic power and free-spirited nature of western PA. After all, divisions from the Whiskey Rebellion still defines socio-political culture, and our transportation systems and urban landscape owe a great debt to the steel plants.
But this is about Kent, and the nature of what it means to be a Man (or Maid) of Kent.
The general division, as I've heard, is a horse in the chalk hills. If you were born on the east side of the horse, you were a Man of Kent. The west, a Kentish Man. There is more than just location that goes into this description, though.
Kent was one of the first British kingdoms, as well as one of the more stable Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. London, at the time, tended to shift allegiances between the various kingdoms of the region. While Pope Gregory had intended to have a Holy See in York and London, political turbulence and instability led to his choice of Canterbury, in Kent. Men of Kent could be relied upon to fight many invading bands. They had a strong sense of self and their region. Kent was, eventually, subsumed by Mercia. As Mercia fell to the Danes, it came under control of Wessex. For about 200 year, while fighting the Great Heathen Army, Kent was frequented by Danish raids (as monasteries were great stores of wealth the Danes sought). As Men of Kent were aligned with Wessex, they were integral in slowing the Viking subjugation of England. At the Battle of the Holme, they 'lost' to the Vikings, but a claimant to the throne of Alfred (who had finally defeated the Great Heathen Army at Edington), his nephew Aethelwold, was killed. This paved the way for Edward to finally complete the consolidation of Britain south of the Humber, essentially ending Viking dominance.
So being a Man of Kent was a term of loyalty and bravery. So much so that when the Normans arrived, they refused to be subjugated. While the delineation of Kentish Man and Man of Kent seems to pre-date the Norman invasion, as those west of the Medway were 'Kentish' and east were 'Men of', it seems the arrival of the Normans added a bit of a twist. William the Conqueror never defeated Kent. In fact, it seems the region of West Kent simply gave in to William, while East Kent held out. In holding out, the people of Kent, in particular East Kent, gained certain rights and degrees of autonomy. Thus, being a Man of Kent implied you resisted William and were staunch and fast, whereas a Kentish Man was submissive.
The Medway is considered the traditional East/West marker of Kent, but it seems there may be other markers. A boundary stone in Rainham Mark, near Gillingham, seems to have set the East/West divide for some time. That stone is gone, but seems to have been near the Hop and Vine public house.
Yet another example of this division is in the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment. Two groups in this are the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and the Buffs (or East Kent Regiment). In addition, each has its own parliamentary division (East Kent and West Kent). Today, the history is kept alive by the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men.
I'm sure there is more to the history that my cursory look provides, and more to the story in general. If any of our readers would like to add their views, please do so in the comments.
Also enjoyed very much, this will add another dimension to listening to Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, one of the stories is about the Norman Invasion. I suspect knowing more of what Bulldog described will add to the story.
I grew up and still reside in western PA, but spent a significant amount of time working in and around Philly in my twenties, and I gotta say, we don’t even speak the same language. I’m not even sure we belong to the same country, let alone the same state. The differences are quite stark.
I grew up in Philly, spent time working in the Pittsburgh area.
I'm not that much in agreement. It's true that Philly has a lot of its own dialect ("jawn" being one item which I've heard nowhere else, and "wooder", which is one of the few Philly pronunciations I've failed to shake).
The media does a good job painting Philly a certain way, much of it undeserved, though not all. It's like any other city. It has upsides and downsides.